Results tagged ‘ Adrian Martinez ’

The Different Paths in Life

Without Burlington’s 11-5 finish to the regular season, I would be coming to you from Athens, Ohio, with an end-of-season blog. Instead, I was earning the nickname “Muscles” from all-star staffers Molly and Ben this afternoon for helping around the stadium prior to the game. If you have never seen me, you have to know that the nickname is very misleading.

But, this playoff run is keeping my from school responsibilities, which is just fine with me. For all I care, this postseason journey can be 20 rounds, not just one or two.

It is a very exciting time around the city of Burlington, with two franchises being a part of the postseason for the first time in almost two decades. We break down the matchup in today’s Bullets.

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • Some of the trends for you. First, as you probably know already, this is Burlington’s first postseason appearance since 1993 and the first one ever as an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Burlington has four appearances all time in the postseason (1987, 1988, 1991 and 1993), and the franchise is 2-2 all-time in playoff series. All four playoff series Burlington has been involved in have been sweeps, so the club is 4-4 in postseason play.
  • This is Burlington’s second playoff set against Johnson City. The B-Indians swept Johnson City in ’87. Since the postseason structure began in the Appalachian League in 1984, the Cardinals have played in three series and lost all of them. JC’s all-time playoff record is 2-6. But Johnson City’s organization, which dates back to 1911 in the Appy League, has taken home six championships, most recently in 1976, Johnson City’s second season as a Cardinals affiliate. The Cardinals won back-to-back crowns in their first two seasons in Johnson City, but the team has not won since.
  • As mentioned above, the Royals finished very strongly to get to playoff baseball. Burlington’s finish was the most unique of the season because of this eyepopping stat: in the final 16 games, the Royals were outscored 75-56. Obviously, a pair of 12-0 defeats will skew the results, but that means that in the other 14 games, Burlington went 11-3 and outscored its opponents by only five total runs. “That’s not really hard to believe,” Ryan Stovall said. “We’ve played a lot of teams tough.”
  • Thus, in the final 16 games, the Royals averaged only three and a half runs per contest. The Royals finished the season in ninth in batting average (.237) and runs per game (3.9). On the flip side, Johnson City is at the top of the heap in both average (.287) and runs per game (5.8).
  • Each squads’ pitching staff is a little more even. Burlington finished the year fourth in earned run average (3.40), with the Cards immediately behind the Royals at 3.72.
  • To keep you updated on a few players who have been injured, Adrian Martinez did play last night at short and then second when Luis Piterson exited the game. While he is not in the lineup, Martinez is available for the game tonight. Michael Liberto is the man at short, and he will bat second.
  • Brian Fletcher is close to returning, but he is still not available. When I asked Burlington manager Nelson Liriano if the outfielder can play, he simply said, “So far, no.” Instead, it will be Gabe MacDougall in left this evening, with Alex Llanos in center and Derek Rodriguez in right.
  • For Johnson City, Philip Cerreto has been banged up throughout most of August, but he should be good to go for September baseball. He has only played in 32 games this year, but he has a .425 average (51-for-120) with seven homers and 38 RBIs. He is playing in left and hitting cleanup for the Cards this evening.
  • Jon Keck is the man on the hill for the Royals in the series opener. Keck earned his first win of the season back on August 11 in Johnson City. In that outing, Keck went five innings and surrendered only one tally. In his last four starts, Keck is 3-1 with a 4.91 ERA, with three of those starts being at least five frames long.
  • Congratulations to Ryan Stovall and Crawford Simmons, who were honored today by the Kansas City organization as the Player of the Year and the Pitcher of the Year, respectively, for the B-Royals. No surprise with Stovall, who is the only Royal hitting over .300. But Kansas City had a great problem to work with, as Simmons (6-2, 2.77 ERA), Willian Avinazar (6-3, 2.63 ERA) and Leonel Santiago (6-3, 2.78 ERA) all were basically even. The full release is here.
  • Both teams arrived early for work today. When I showed up around 1:30 this afternoon, the Royals’ coaching staff was already here, as were a few players. By 3:00, most players were already on the field. Johnson City arrived in Burlington around 3:15.
  • Appalachian League President Lee Landers will be attending tonight’s game, and the plan is for me to interview him after the game. If that happens, I will share some of his thoughts on the blog tomorrow, and I will air most, if not all, of the conversation on the Pre-Game Show brought to you by Best Western tomorrow night in advance of Game 2 of this series.
  • We do have an extended version of the PGSbtybBW (not the best abbreviation, but we’ll go with it) tonight at 6:40, with thoughts from Liriano and Stovall. Plus, we will listen back to the three-game winning streak against Danville to get the Royals into the postseason.

Thanks so much for being a part of the blog throughout the season and into the playoffs. As always, shoot us some feedback or say hello during the broadcast at burlingtonroyalsradio@gmail.com. Enjoy the broadcast!

- Brian

A Day of Relaxation

Four days ago, the Royals were three games out with five to go. Today, the Royals play a meaningless game to end the regular season. The odds would tell you that Burlington must have been eliminated from the postseason race during the last half-week.

But this team does not operate under conventional rules.

The Royals won four straight one-run games, three of which came against the Appalachian League’s traditional power, to clinch a postseason berth for the first time since 1993.

And now, Burlington is simply showing up and going at it tonight against Danville, looking for a sweep.

Before the regular season finale, let’s give you our final regular season edition of the Bullets.

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • First off, it is important to soak up the moment. Burlington has not seen playoff baseball since 1993, and that stretch will come to an end tomorrow night at 7 at Burlington Athletic Stadium against the top-seeded Johnson City Cardinals. “Everybody was happy because we clinched,” skipper Nelson Liriano said. “That’s a really special moment for everybody here, especially the players. They did a great job in the right time.”
  • The man who finished it out on the mound was Robbie Penny. The club’s best reliever at this point, Penny still has the team’s lowest ERA (1.75). He got into some trouble in the seventh but stranded two runners. In the final two frames, he allowed only one runner to reach, with the Braves failing to get it out of the infield in the ninth. He also appreciates the big moment in his first year at the professional level. “It’s a big accomplishment for everybody on the team,” Penny said. “We all worked so hard through spring training, college ball, and high school ball.”
  • The Royals made this great run behind a strong finish in the second half of August. Since August 15th, the Royals are 11-4 overall and 7-0 in one-run games. What is remarkable is that the Royals have actually been outscored over the last 15 games 63-56 (because of two losses by a combined 18 runs). “I think it means we’re just coming together at the right time,” Penny said. “It makes us a dangerous team going into the playoffs because we’ve been in the one-run situations, where you basically have to show up and give them your best stuff for the last few innings or you’re going to get beat.”
  • Because this is affiliated baseball, development still trumps winning, even during postseason time. In chatting with Liriano yesterday, he seemed like he wanted to push Leonel Santiago back to Wednesday for the first playoff game if the Royals did knock out the Braves. But, he knew that the front office may want to keep the regular rotation, and Santiago will indeed pitch tonight in the meaningless game. “He’s scheduled to pitch tonight,” Liriano said about Santiago. “Everybody is doing a great job. The starting pitchers–everyone is solid…we feel good about everyone.”
  • Thus, the pitching rotation for the first round will be Jon Keck on Wednesday, Willian Avinazar on Thursday and Jonathan Dooley on Friday.
  • The Royals will get some offensive help for the postseason. Shortstop Adrian Martinez is in the starting lineup tonight in the second slot. He had been taking batting practice over the last few days, and he is back to 100 percent after tweaking his knee two weeks ago.
  • Also, Brian Fletcher, who tweaked a quad during the Royals’ game with Danville August 8, is scheduled to play some tonight. He was originally ruled out of the regular season, but now, with at least two more games guaranteed, Fletcher will get another go-around with the B-Royals prior to Instructionals late next month. Fletcher was the clean-up hitter and the left fielder during his four games with Burlington, and he was 5-for-16 with two homers and four RBIs.
  • The Royals are giving a few critical offensive pieces the day off today. Ryan Stovall is out of the lineup and is not expected to play. The same can be said for catcher Ryan Jenkins. Second baseman Luis Piterson is in the lineup and leading off, but Liriano told me that he will only play four innings.
  • There are still some things to play for statistically. First off, the Royals would clinch the highest win increase in the Appalachian League with a win tonight to go up 11 triumphs from last season. Secondly, an 11-win increase would be all by itself for second in Burlington’s history in the Appalachian League. And finally, a win would complete a four-game sweep against Danville and would send them to a season below the .500 mark. That would be pretty incredible.
  • A bullet of congratulations to everyone on the team for this accomplishment. Many of these players have not been in this situation before, and they will get a special treat. Congrats to Liriano for making it to the playoffs in his second year as a skipper. This is pitching coach Bobby St. Pierre’s first trip to the Appy League postseason in his three years with the B-Royals. Hitting coach Damon Hollins is in his first year of coaching, and he is in the postseason. Trainer James Stone hasn’t been a part of postseason baseball since ’05 within the Baltimore organization at A-level Delmarva. Strength and conditioning coach Steve Gamma, like Hollins, is in his first year and will get to go into September. And general manager Steve Brice gets his first sniff of the fun of bonus baseball, too.

With the team’s (and my) late arrival to Danville, the Pre-Game Show brought to you by Best Western will get going at its normal time of 6:45 instead of 6:40. Hear from Robbie Penny and Nelson Liriano, plus relive the clinch during our rewind segment. Enjoy the broadcast, and get ready for September baseball!

- Brian

Developing in All Areas

Throughout the season, I have interviewed Burlington manager Nelson Liriano before every game for our pre-game coverage. When I first asked him about doing this, he was a little hesitant, which is understandable.

By the outset of July, Nellie had the process down. And since August, I’ve gotten the feeling he legitimately enjoys it. After the interview today, he asked me about the entire pre-game show.

“Do they even understand what I’m saying,” Liriano asked jokingly. “Because we give a lot of notes in this.”

Yes, we do. Well, he gives all the notes, and I’m just in the way.

I told him that everyone understands and, from the feedback I’ve received, appreciates it.

“Good,” he said. “Because I’m getting better at it.”

If that’s not developmental baseball, I don’t know what is. But now, it’s time for some hard-hitting, (hopefully) major-league quality Bullets about the Royals.

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • Last night’s bottom of the 8th was, uh, interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a four-error inning, but it happened. And it caused Burlington to drop a game in the standings. Still, Liriano understands that these types of innings can happen. “It’s part of the game,” Liriano said. “Those were physical mistakes. Those are going to happen. Today is a brand new day.”
  • One positive sign for the Royals was the continued good work for Yunior Figueroa. Figueroa, who just turned 20 earlier this month, has hit safely in seven of his last eight games. In those games, the switcher hitter is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with last night’s homer, four runs batted in and three runs scored. “He looks aggressive,” Liriano said about Figgy’s recent surge. “He’s ready to swing at every pitch, and he has a good result lately because he has been taking bad pitches here and there and putting good swings on them.”
  • From a progression standpoint, Figueroa has been doing exactly what you are supposed to do from the beginning of a season to the end–improving significantly. Figueroa hit just .167 in June and improved that to .253 in July. In August, the Dominican Republic product is swinging a .281 stick. He also thrives with men in scoring position (12-for-38; .316).
  • Crawford Simmons had another good outing last night, posting his second straight six-inning, one-run effort against the Mets. In his five starts in August, Simmons is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .182 off the southpaw in the season’s final month. He is scheduled for one more start Monday at Danville.
  • Leonel Santiago is the man on the mound tonight for the Royals, and I have not been shy in claiming that he should win the Pitcher of the Year in the Appalachian League. What sealed the deal for me was Santiago’s eight-inning effort against these Mets back on Saturday in Burlington. That was after his worst outing of the year at Danville and in a big rubber match for the Royals.
  • Liriano admitted that Santiago looked tired after the outing against the Braves August 15, but he had the benefit of an off day in advance of the Kingsport start. Still, Liriano won’t change his approach with Santiago this evening with a normal go-around in the rotation. “If he is throwing strong, we will keep him in the game,” Liriano said. “For now, we expect he goes seven to eight innings. We expect a good game.”
  • With a trip to Instructionals on the way, Santiago realizes the weight of this stretch run. “If I finish strong here, I can hope to go to a better league next year,” Santiago said through a translator. “It is pretty important for me to finish well.”
  • Santiago is averaging just a shade under six innings per outing. If he continues on that pace, Santiago will throw almost 84 innings in the Appalachian League, which is a very high number. “The arm is good,” Santiago said. “Even though I have been throwing a lot of innings, I think I can finish strong and healthy.”
  • A couple of injury updates. Brian Fletcher, the 18th-round selection for Kansas City two months ago, is still slightly bothered by a quad injury that has had him sidelined for almost three weeks and will keep him out of the rest of the Appalachian League slate. Fletcher said he hurt it during his college season, and it flared back up August 8 against the Braves. Fletcher is taking batting practice with the team and doing various drills and rehab exercises, but the outfield product cannot run at full speed. “It’s frustrating,” Fletcher said. “They’re working me back slowly.” As has been stated in the Bullets before, the organization wants him to be ready for Instructionals next month.
  • Shortstop Adrian Martinez is also taking batting practice with the team again. He injured his left knee a week ago and will most likely remain out of the lineup for the rest of the season.
  • Another quick overview of the playoff picture entering today. Danville leads the Royals by three games with six to go. After rolling the Astros 10-1 yesterday, the Braves meet Greeneville again, with Mike Foltynewicz (0-3, 4.89), Houston’s first-round pick, going against a starter who has yet to be announced. Princeton, like the Royals, lost last night, 6-3 to Johnson City. Trailing the Braves by three and a half games, the Rays will send Andrew Bellatti (2-4, 3.53 ERA) to the mound against new Cardinal Tyrell Jenkins.
  • Just a tease for tomorrow. I will be ranking all of the road parks in the Appalachian League prior to the Bullets in the blog post. Some factors that will be considered include the atmosphere, uniqueness, playing surface, and (because I’m a broadcaster) press box. Nothing too in-depth, but I love ranking things. So why not?

Our pre-game coverage gets going at 6:45 with the Pre-Game Show brought to you by Best Western. As always, shoot us an e-mail at burlingtonroyalsradio@gmail.com. Thanks!

- Brian

Advancing to “Expert”

When I was younger, video games took up a solid chunk of my free time. I would frequent video games like Madden, NBA Live and almost every baseball game. But my favorite game of all time, without a shadow of a doubt, was Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

Over the course of a year and a half, I worked my way through an entire 162-game season. Needless to say, I didn’t get out much, but I was like 9, to be fair. After an unbeaten record (and only two resets because I lost–full disclosure here), I decided to roll the dice on all my hard work and use the “Expert” level of difficulty for the playoffs.

After an easy Division Series, I ran into some trouble with Griffey and the Mariners. Down 2-1 in the ALCS, I rallied to win seven straight games and take home the World Series.

What in the world does this have to do with the Bullets? Well, a Royal reliever needed to increase his opponents’ difficulty level, and it happened last night. Details on that, and more, in today’s round of Bullets.

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • Chas Byrne was promoted to the Burlington Bees, Kansas City’s low-A affiliate in the Midwest League, earlier this afternoon. He was informed of the switch last night after the game. The righty was fantastic all season long with the Royals, and he should still garner significant consideration for the Appalachian League Reliever of the Year. The Johnson City, Tenn., native was 1-0 with a 0.80 ERA and six saves. He worked 33 and two-thirds innings and struck out 38, or 10.2 whiffs per nine innings. He last allowed a run one month ago today at Princeton.
  • Burlington manager Nelson Liriano has said to me multiple times over the last two weeks or so that Byrne had proven everything he could at this level. The problem was that the Bees did not have a spot for him, until now that is. “He showed us from the first day until last night he is a good pitcher and good competitor,” Liriano said. “He just dominated this league. Finally, he got the good call.”
  • So, Byrne will get a handful of appearances with the Bees before next season. I don’t know the organization’s plan with Byrne, but it is a safe guess that he will start with the Bees again in April 2011. “It’s good for you for the next year because you have an idea what’s going on already,” Liriano said. “For next year, I think he will be ready to have a good season, too.”
  • Another player’s season at the Appalachian League level is most likely done. While Liriano would not say for sure, he did tell me that shortstop Adrian Martinez will probably miss the rest of the season. Martinez tweaked something in his knee a week ago and has been sidelined ever since.
  • So, Michael Liberto, who has gotten off to a good start in Burlington (.269 average, .367 on-base percentage, 5 RBIs), will finish off the campaign as the shortstop. If Liberto needs a day off, Ryan Stovall will shift over to short.
  • Yesterday’s offensive showing was the best this month in a nine-inning contest. Burlington had not scored seven runs or more in a regulation contest since an 11-2 thrashing of Bluefield July 29. And the Royals did it with five runs in the first two innings. “When [the opponent] faces good pitchers, and if we score early runs, it’s twice as difficult for teams to come from behind,” Liriano said.
  • Last night, the “good pitcher” that Liriano referred to was ace Crawford Simmons. The southpaw will mix in an occasional bad start, but for the most part Simmons has been solid all year long. For instance, in his last seven outings, Simmons has gone at least five innings and given up one run or less five times. In the other two starts, Simmons has allowed four runs in each effort.
  • The important thing that an ace must do is give his club a chance to win every time out. Well, the Royals are 8-4 in games that Simmons has started. Put a checkmark by that box.
  • After tonight, the Royals have only two more games at the friendly confides of Burlington Athletic Stadium, which is the second-most imbalanced road-to-home stretch run in the league. Princeton plays its final home game of the season today before finishing the season with a ten-game road swing.
  • Burlington is also second in another category: length of time between the end of a road game and the bus leaving the park for the hotel. But Kingsport wins that honor by a mile. I left the park almost an hour after the end of the game last night, and the Mets were still waiting to leave. Elizabethton is the quickest by a fairly significant margin. The Twins were out of the parking lot around the same time I finished “Royals Wrap-Up.”
  • Yes, this is a shameless plug, but it is also a plug for another web site. So, that is how I will justify it. Check out the “Broken Bat Single Royals Podcast” for an interview of yours truly by Nick Scott. Nick has done a great job with these podcasts (hopefully I didn’t screw it all up with my input), and he also writes for “Royals Authority.” We chatted for about 30 minutes about the Burlington Royals, specifically discussing guys like Simmons, Alex Llanos and Leonel Santiago. (NOTE: We recorded it around 4:30 this afternoon, so give it a little bit after this is published for Nick to post it).

Our pre-game coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. with the Pre-Game Show brought to you by Best Western. As always, e-mail into the broadcast at burlingtonroyalsradio@gmail.com. Enjoy the broadcast!

- Brian

Like a Gobstopper

I felt like Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open, when he outlasted Rocco Mediate for the title. I felt like John Isner after he finally defeated Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon a few weeks ago. No, the feeling wasn’t an incredible accomplishment.

I just wanted the night to end. But it wouldn’t. It truly was the gobstopper of baseball games.

As you know, or as you can probably tell by my broadcasts, blogs, tweets, stories, etc., I really like baseball. But even last night was for the most passionate of diehards. The game itself was pretty competitive for almost the entire game, but the lackluster atmosphere and the interminable delays took away from it, which is really too bad because it was a great crowd at 7 p.m.

I promise there is an end to this edition of the Bullets, so enjoy without thinking that it will take up your entire night.

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • Again, the whole story as I gathered it over the course of last night. Kingsport’s bus broke down early in the trip to Burlington. Once it was repaired, the bus was backed up because of an accident on the highway. From there, things were slow through the Winston-Salem and Greensboro area. Finally, at 7:45 p.m., the Mets pulled into the parking lot at Burlington Athletic Stadium. Normally, the rule is that the team has 30 minutes between the time it arrives until the time the game starts. But, because the tarp was being removed right around the time that the Mets arrive, they had about 50 minutes to get suited up and ready for action.
  • One light fixture down the right field line went out for the second time yesterday (during our second delay, which began around 9 p.m. because of rain). Apparently, it needs repair but it can be turned back on if it goes out. In other words, it is like a problem with an internet connection–shut it off for a few minutes and then turn it back on.
  • While yesterday was a bizarre game, it was also a loss that fit a few patterns for the Royals this season. Burlington is now 12-18 at home this season, assuring itself a losing record at home in 2010. It also lowered the Royals’ mark against Western Division foes to 8-17. Burlington has only taken one series from the West (July 4-6 vs. Elizabethton).
  • The patterns may have favored a Burlington loss last night, but manager Nelson Liriano was not pleased with the team’s effort. He held a meeting after the game last night, and the club did some early work today prior to batting practice. “We need to have a little bit more concentration,” Liriano said. “We have to be tough because it’s how you finish the season. We did not play good defense last night, and that’s a good moment to let everyone know that mistakes are going to happen, but we need to have more concentration for next time.”
  • One of the bright spots during an overcast day in the sky and on the field was Robert Penny’s dynamite long relief appearance. Penny worked five shutout innings and allowed two base runners all game: a walk and an error by Yunior Figueroa. The atmosphere was different than what it usually is at this level, but Penny was ready for his effort. “You know what they send you out there to do,” Penny said. “I knew I was going in, so I was mentally prepared to go in and just had to transfer that from the bullpen to the mound.”
  • In Penny’s last 13 relief appearances, only one run has scored, and it was unearned. Opponents are hitting .214 off the righty this season. And in the months of July and August, Penny boasts an earned run average of 0.48. “I don’t really think about it,” Penny said. “I just go out there and do what I know I’m capable of doing.”
  • After suffering through an 0-for-12 funk late last week, Anthony Howard is starting to find his stroke again. The right fielder is 5-for-14 (.357) in his last four contests with a pair of long homers to right and three runs scored. The one alarming stat for Howard is his strikeouts. He has whiffed 11 times in his last eight games and more than one strikeout per game (37 Ks, 35 games).
  • Still no update on shortstop Adrian Martinez, but Liriano said the team will know more about his condition tomorrow. Martinez has missed the last week of action because of some knee soreness.

Our pre-game coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. with the Pre-Game Show brought to you by Best Western. As always, we are e-mail accessible at burlingtonroyalsradio@gmail.com. Enjoy the broadcast!

- Brian

Little Leaguers Doing Big Things

No crazy story or strange opinion here today. This is simply a brief token of respect to the little leaguers who will head to Williamsport, Penn., for the Little League World Series. Tonight, the final team (either New Jersey or Pennsylvania) will punch its ticket and join Connecticut, Ohio, Minnesota, Georgia, Hawaii, Texas and Washington for one of the most wholesome, entertaining spectacles in sports today.

Playing in the LLWS was one of my many dreams growing up, and I hope that every kid playing over the next few weeks soaks that opportunity up. I know I will be watching.

Without further ado, here are today’s Bullets:

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • Ryan Wood loves to bounce around. The hitter-turned-pitcher has made another climb today, getting the promotion to the Burlington Bees, Kansas City’s A-affiliate in the Midwest League. He will join former B-Royals Alex McClure and Josh Worrell. This is Wood’s second stint with the Bees, with the first coming earlier in the season as an infielder.
  • How about Alex Llanos yesterday. He tied the game in the sixth and won it in the tenth with RBI base hits. The club’s center fielder hasn’t really had a hot streak this season, but he has never been in an extended funk, either. Llanos hit .250 in June (nine games), .257 in July (27 games) and .262 thus far in August (11 games). But yesterday was Llanos’ biggest effort as a Royal in a crucial game. “This game helped us to get the team together,” Llanos said through a translator. “We needed to try to have a positive attitude and win more games.”
  • Obviously, the Royals pitching staff did great work again (Chas Byrne lowered his ERA to 0.80 and Robbie Penny’s mark fell to 1.80), but the story was the offense coming through. “Finally, we have a lot of hits,” skipper Nelson Liriano said. “We know the pitchers have been doing a great job all year. The defense has been solid too, so we just need what happened last night–a lot of hits and we scored a lot of runs.”
  • Burlington’s best comeback in a while came at a great time. Being four back of a playoff spot with 15 games remaining is much easier than being six games away. It was the Royals’ first comeback victory when trailing after five innings since July 23 at Elizabethton, a 6-2 win during which the Royals scored four in the top of the ninth after tying it in the seventh.
  • The only downside to yesterday’s effort was Leonel Santiago’s start. The righty failed to work into the fifth inning for the first time this year. He also gave up four tallies for the first time this season. His ERA increased almost a half of a run to 1.98, pushing his standing to third in the Appalachian League.
  • Shortstop Adrian Martinez pulled a muscle near his left knee during last night’s game, which was the reason for his removal. He will sit out the next few games and be re-evaluated after that. So, Michael Liberto will be the club’s primary shortstop over the next few days. Liberto is hitting second tonight, behind Luis Piterson.
  • Jon Keck will make his fourth start this season, and the plan is for him to bulk up on the pitch count a little bit. He has increased his outing’s length by one inning in each of his three starts (3 IP, 4 IP, 5 IP).
  • The Royals have now played eight extra-inning contests, owning a 3-5 mark on the season. But last night’s win was the first of those eight to end in the tenth frame. Because of all the extra time, the Royals’ pitching staff leads the league in innings worked (484), almost seven more than second-place Danville, who owns a 2-5 mark during bonus baseball.
  • How about Danville’s constant shuffling. First baseman Joey Terdoslavich was sent to Atlanta’s low-A affiliate–the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League–marking the 29th different roster for the D-Braves in 2010.

Our coverage on burlingtonroyals.com begins at 6:45. Enjoy the broadcast!

- Brian

Chatting with a Cy Young

Minor league baseball is a great way to learn about great players from years and decades past. One of the many former players in the Kansas City organization is Mark Davis, who is in Burlington for the weekend. He is the replacement pitching coach for Bobby St. Pierre, who is away this weekend for a wedding.

Davis pitched in the big leagues from 1980 to 1997, winning the Cy Young in 1989 with the San Diego Padres. During that season, the southpaw went 4-3 with a 1.85 ERA and 44 saves. He pitched in Kansas City from 1990 to 1992.

When I went up to him yesterday to ask about an interview today, he joked and said, “Ok. What kind of questions should I ask you?”

Today, after the interview, I asked for his questions for me. Little did I know he would delve into baseball trivia questions. He asked about my current university (Ohio University) and its famous players. Fortunately, I have known for quite some time about the times of such major leaguers as Mike Schmidt and Steve Swisher.

As I’ve been learning all summer long, baseball men are good men. And Davis is no different. With that, here’s another installment of the Bullets.

BURLINGTON BULLETS:

  • How different are players now versus Davis’ time in the big leagues? “Talent is talent,” Davis said. “It’s all relative to the era you play in. It’s just that each era has maybe a different way of playing the game.”
  • Davis also marvels at the progression of the media and how minor league players have to cope with that. “People are aware of players in the minor leagues now because of the media access,” Davis said. “People know exactly what you are, where you are from, what you like to do. The spotlight on the players is quite a bit earlier than when I played.”
  • The Royals made an important switch yesterday after the game, shipping shortstop Alex McClure to the Burlington Bees, Kansas City’s low-A affiliate in the Midwest League. McClure finishes his time in the Appalachian League with a .236 batting average and 15 RBIs. “He gives everything he has in this level,” skipper Nelson Liriano said. “The organization saw that every day. He played outstanding defense, good baserunning, and he hit the ball to the whole field.”
  • Liriano certainly can be deemed an expert about shortstops, and he thinks McClure has that “It” factor. “He has all the ability to be a major league shortstop,” Liriano said. “He’s quick, he’s accurate, he has a good direction and he reads the ball really well.”
  • So, the starting shortstop spot is now turned over to Adrian Martinez. Martinez has been primarily Burlington’s utility man, getting time at second, short and third. But now, it is Martinez spot at short and in the two-hole in the lineup. In 27 games, Martinez is hitting .193 with six RBIs. “He just needs an opportunity to play every day,” Liriano said.
  • “I was willing to do it,” Martinez said through a translator about his role as a utility man. “Last year, I was the shortstop, just the shortstop. But I’m ready. I’m always ready.”
  • Burlington has added a new utility man. Michael Liberto, Kansas City’s 21st rounder in June, joined the club today. He attended Missouri and has taken McClure’s old number: 2.
  • Josh Worrell is also heading with McClure to the other Burlington. Worrell had been with the club for the Bristol series and the twin bill yesterday after a short stint with Wilmington. He did not pitch in his second and much shorter stint in the Appy League after three scoreless frames with the Blue Rocks. This move, though, appears to be more permanent for the righty.
  • How about Brian Fletcher making an immediate impact last night in his debut, clearing the second layer of ads in right center (which is the opposite way for the right-handed slugger). Not only was it Fletcher’s first professional tater, but it was the Royals’ first since July 22. That was a 12-game homerless streak for Burlington.
  • Yesterday featured four double dips in the league, and all four resulted in splits. The only sweep chance in the league for this three-game span comes in Kingsport, as the Mets won the only Appy League game played Thursday 12-4 over Danville and topped the Braves again yesterday in a wacky 9-8, 13-inning tilt.
  • Stay tuned to the blog tomorrow. Not only will we have the daily Bullets for you, but I will also delve into the Wilmington roster to see how former Royals are doing in the Carolina League.

Our pre-game coverage begins at 6:45 with a first pitch at 7, as the Royals search for their first series win since July 19-21 at Princeton. Enjoy the broadcast!

- Brian

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